Colorado Avalanche: Patrick Roy had No Big Problem with Matt Duchene

DENVER, CO - APRIL 03: Head coach Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche looks on from the bench behind Mikkel Boedker
DENVER, CO - APRIL 03: Head coach Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche looks on from the bench behind Mikkel Boedker /

Former Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy may have once called out Matt Duchene, but he didn’t have a big problem with the popular center.

Slow your roll, Colorado Avalanche fans, before you point out the video I’m going to share in just a few lines. I well remember former head coach Roy calling out Duchene for celebrating a goal.

That said, Patrick Roy had no big beef with Matt Duchene when he was still head coach of the Avs.

Le Incident

Before we go any farther, let’s go ahead and look at the video that created such an uproar at the time, hereby called

Le Incident


First, let’s acknowledge that the goal did mark the first time Duchene scored 30 goals in a season. It’s true he had reason to celebrate.

However, let’s also remember the situation at the time. It was late in the third period of a game the Avalanche were losing 4-0. The Avalanche were in the middle of a free-fall, losing eight of the last nine games. Just one week before they’d been playoff contenders.

Here’s what Roy actually said:

"“And the thing I have a bit of a hard time with is the reaction of Dutchy after he scores. It’s a four-nothing goal. Big cheer — are you kidding me? What is that? It’s not the reflect that we want from our guys.”"

Roy went on to opine that the Avalanche had a losing mindset — and they certainly went on to lose their last three games. Duchene admitted at the time that he wouldn’t really enjoy the milestone until later. He also said the following about his relationship with Roy:

"“We had a real good talk, and our relationship before that was great. Everybody wanted to make a big deal out of what happened at the end of the year and it’s like, we had a great chat right after it happened to make sure everything was good. Our relationship never wavered for a second through that whole thing. The media always wants to blow everything up, and make it look like it’s two people against each other, and it was never that.”"

I fully believe Matt Duchene when he says his relationship with Patrick Roy was just fine afterward, and here’s why.

Patrick Roy and Unfavorable Players

Patrick Roy caught a lot of flak for Le Incident. You could say some of it was justifiable. Duchene celebrated a goal — he didn’t do this:

Or own-goal the Colorado Avalanche into oblivion à la Francois Beauchemin.

However, Roy displayed a teacherly mindset to his coaching — he talked all the time about the teaching-learning cycle between the coaching staff and the players. I firmly believe he wanted to teach one of his best players, Matt Duchene, how to have a winning mindset.

More from Mile High Sticking

That opinion is supported by a couple of facts. First of all, Roy said it right in the interview — the team was suffering from a losing mindset. He didn’t want that losing mindset (celebrating a goal that was meaningless to the team) to come from his best players.

The second fact is that Roy had been working with Duchene to make him a winner all season. Matt Duchene suffered one of his characteristic goal-scoring slumps, scoring only one goal in all of October. According to Duchene himself, Roy pulled him aside and showed him video of Matt scoring, explaining positioning. Roy continued to support Duchene as he rebounded and even had an historic November.

However, the trade rumors started around that time and persisted until the deadline. It was said that Patrick Roy wanted to trade his troublemaker.

Again, I pose two facts to prove otherwise. First of all, Roy didn’t take time to teach players he’d given up on. Remember P.A. Parenteau? Roy decided early on that he “wasn’t a top-six forward.” He benched Parenteau and was surely integral in seeing P. A. traded.

Roy never benched Duchene, not even for a shift. I also daresay that, if he’d really wanted Matt traded, Duchene would have been traded.

Second, Patrick Roy is almost one-year removed from the Colorado Avalanche. Yet the trade rumors have become more virulent. Indeed, Duchene essentially failed under Jared Bednar, and that’s a large part of the reason it’s said both sides want a trade.

None of that has anything to do with Patrick Roy. The only constant is GM Joe Sakic. Maybe he was the one exploring a trade all along. It could even be that Roy spoke up in Duchene’s defense. (I own that that’s pure speculation.)

A final parting shot on the topic of Le Incident. I would much rather have my boss call me out publicly once rather than have the big boss dangling a transfer over my head for two years.

Next: Ranking Matt Duchene Moments 7 - 9

Side note on the recent controversy with Duchene stating he was “burned out” by January. Watch the above video again. Is that a coach who allows his players to get burned out? I don’t think so.

In any case, congratulations, dear reader, on completing the first installment of my Roypocalypse Remembrance series. Enjoy the ride. As promised I’ve found a delightful dancing horses video to cap the series off — I may even throw in a comic video for funsies.